Re: What ever happended to...????

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Posted by Ken Kurtis on February 20, 2013 at 13:11:07:

In Reply to: What ever happended to...???? posted by SDM on February 20, 2013 at 04:20:06:

I can answer that one Sam as I have rather intimate knowledge of the whole timeline:

Bill & Jean opened the original Sunland Sport on Canon probably around 1953. They had one or even two other locations but eventually moved to 8477 Wilshire Blvd (between Robertson & LaCienega) and they were a combo dive & ski shop, with a little tennis thrown in on the side. They even had a "practice" ski hill with fake snow in the back. I started teaching scuba for them at that location in April of 1981.

Around 1985, after two winters of almost-no-snow, they were going bankrupt. At the same time, in the then-new Beverly Center, a ski shop opened up called Sunland Skiers. Bill & Jean filed a name-infringement suit against Sunland Skiers and the settlement agreement included a provision that Sunland Skiers would take over Sunland Sports Lodge, merge the ski operation into Sunland Skiers and keep the dive side running under the name "The Dive Shop" with Bill & jean's son Billy, as manager. Bill & Jean at that point retired, but continued to do custom wetsuits out of their home in Van Nuys.

So in 1985, "The Dive Shop" (also called "Sunland Sports - The Dive Shop") moved into 8642 Wilshire Blvd. with Billy at the helm. I continued teaching for them.

In late 1987, after more minimum-snow years, the guy who owned Sunland Skiers announced HE was going bankrupt and was going to liquidate evertyhing. Billy & I, along with a third partner, decided to buy "The Dive Shop" and made a deal.

In April of 1988, "Sunland - The Dive Shop" ceased operations and we started doing business under the new name of "Reef Seekers Dive Co." at the same 8642 location. In January of 1994, the third partner left the business, and Billy & I moved the store to 8612 Wilshire Blvd., where we stayed until the end of 2006, when our lease was not renewed because the property owners thought they could build condos and booted us out. (The condos never happened and the store remained vacant for quite some time.)

Billy decided he wanted to retire, I decided that I wanted to keep just the travel and local diving end going, so on January 1, 2007, Reef Seekers Dive Co. took on a new persona in the form of being internet-based, focusing on foreign and local diving, and based out of my place in Westwood.

We have continued in that fashion to present day and this year I will be taking people to Yap, Bonaire, Isla Mujeres, and Roatan, not to mention local dives (like this weekend's Avalon Underwater Cleanup) as well.

So it was Sunland Sports Lodge to Sunland - The Dive Shop to Reef Seekers. And now you know.

- Ken
Ken Kurtis
Owner, Reef Seekers Dive Co.
(310) 652-4990

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